GUEST ARTIST: “Crazy About Watercolors” by Hema Gupta

Watercolor Painting Florence, Italy by Hema Gupta - Doodlewash #WorldWatercolorGroup

My name is Hema Gupta and I live in Marlboro, New Jersey. Thanks to Charlie O’Shields for this opportunity to share with you about myself and my art.

I am a software engineer by profession and have been working full time in the telecom industry for several years. I am a self-taught artist, and even though some find it hard to believe, I enjoy my technical job as much as I enjoy my art!

Watercolor Painting by Hema Gupta - Doodlewash #WorldWatercolorGroup

As a child, my favorite pastime was drawing faces. I would copy celebrity photos from magazine covers and was constantly doodling in all my notebooks. For several years, all I did as far as art was concerned was make birthday and New Year’s greeting cards for friends.

Watercolor Painting by Hema Gupta - Doodlewash #WorldWatercolorGroup

I graduated with an engineering degree in electronics, started working, and then got married. When I moved to New Jersey from India, there was no time for my hobby. I would make an occasional painting that caught my fancy or would copy step-by-step painting lessons from books. I had no clue about materials, paper, brushes or paints.

Watercolor Painting by Hema Gupta - Doodlewash #WorldWatercolorGroup

I credit the Internet and all those wonderful artists who have put up tutorials online and on Youtube for helping me in my watercolor journey over last few years. With my kids being older, I had more time. I bought some watercolors, naively thinking it would be easier and faster to satisfy my creative urge.

Once I started I was hooked and I went crazy getting books from the library and watching tutorials online. I joined forums like ‘Wetcanvas’ which is a wonderful resource. I became obsessed with watercolors. Working on improving my technique, I was enamored by that light airy quality of watercolors.

I learned to use good quality materials. I usually work on 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper from brands like Canson, Arches and Saunders Waterford etc. My paints are mostly Winsor & Newton professional grade. The brushes I use a lot are from the Silver Black Velvet line. Immediately, I could see a world of difference in the results when using these tools.

Then, I grew more confident and started showing my work. I joined the Freehold Watercolor Society, a wonderful local community of artists. Also, I joined other plein air groups in the area and participated in various paintouts.

There, I got very positive feedback, won some awards, and was juried into various shows. I earned Signature membership recently in the Northeast Watercolor Society! I have been commissioned to do some house and pet portraits and have sold paintings. All the while, I did not really notice when I ‘became an artist’!

I paint regularly, making small 9×12” paintings in an hour or so. This practice has improved my work a lot. Mostly, I use photos from places I have been to as references. Sometimes, I use pictures of celebrities when I’m in the mood to paint a quick portrait.

Currently, I am keen on painting en plein aire because that’s where I wish to improve further. I am inspired by many contemporary watercolor masters like Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castagnet, Andy Evansen, David Taylor and many more. I read their books and watch their demos over and over again.

Many times, I am asked, “why watercolors?” But there is no answer that can be expressed in words! The joy I get watching the paint and water flow and mix on paper is impossible to describe.

Watercolor Painting by Hema Gupta - Doodlewash #WorldWatercolorGroup

To any serious watercolor beginners, I would say that just keep going. It gets better with practice. There is a wealth of information online if you don’t have time to go out for classes. And even then, the real joy actually is in the pleasant surprises one gets with this very challenging yet wonderful medium!

Hema Gupta

Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Thank you, Hema, for sharing your artistic journey with us. I love your work and the way you capture light!

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Sandra. Watercolor shines when one can capture that light!

      • Patsy 4 years ago

        Hema, I love your work and thanks for sharing your journey. Your talent, just like Sandra and Charlie is a gift you were born with.

        • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

          Thanks so much.

  2. Janet 4 years ago

    Hema, your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks, Janet ,for your kind words.

  3. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Beautiful work, Hema! Enjoyed reading your story and seeing your wonderful paintings.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you, Mar. I am glad you liked it.

      • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

        oops..Sorry for typo , Mary.

  4. Sarah 4 years ago

    Your work is so very beautiful, Hema! ☺

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you 🙂

  5. SnehLata Maheshwari 4 years ago

    Hello Hema i liked the way you are doing art .and the journey of your art inspired me a lot . Thanks to be here n sharing with us. thanks so much to Charlie.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you SnehLata. Indeed thanks to Charlie for sharing my work

  6. Rashmi 4 years ago

    So inspiring..for making such paintings do we have to be perfect in sketching and pencil shading first??

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Rashmi. I would say drawing is indeed the basic skill , more so for portraits and other architectural subjects. You don’t have to learn to shade though, but that does help in learning about values. Hope this helps.

  7. Amrita Verma 4 years ago

    Beautiful work

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks 🙂

  8. bingingonabudget 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, your work is beautiful.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks for taking a look!

  9. Barbara Byers 4 years ago


    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Barbara 🙂

  10. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Lovely work! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you Sharon.

  11. Laura Hale 4 years ago

    Thank you Hema for sharing your art and your journey. both are beautiful!

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks for the lovely compliment. 🙂

  12. Shubha 4 years ago

    Hi.Great work Hema. Your story is really inspiring.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you 😊

  13. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    Hema, it’s a pleasure to view your paintings. I’m impressed by the variety of subjects you’ve attempted in watercolors. I don’t usually like to state my favorite, but I’m so enchanted by the painting of the canal with that delicate sky overhead and the misty quality of the light.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thank you 😊

  14. Janneke Booister 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful art 🙂

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it .

  15. Geeta 4 years ago

    Hema , love your water colors. You are very talented . I like the diversity of the topics you have covered. Each one is unique. Good work.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Geeta.

  16. Shar Kennett 4 years ago


    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Shar 😊

  17. Linda Young 4 years ago

    thank you for sharing your watercolor journey

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Linda and thanks once again to Charlie for this opportunity.

  18. shankar 4 years ago

    Superb!!! And so inspiring!! Love the different styles….some are breezy, some have depth, some….so detailed!! Wonderful!!!

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Shankar, you are always so encouraging!

  19. Nancy Sapp 4 years ago

    Hema – You’re an inspiration to us! Your work is awesome. I wish I had a quarter of your talent but MAYBE there’s hope for me yet. Thank you to Charlie for letting us see your work & enjoy your background story.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Nancy. Indeed, thanks to Charlie, there are so many wonderful artists on doodlwash, so inspiring to read their stories and enjoy their work.

  20. Seema 4 years ago

    Lovely paintings and a very inspiring journey.

    • Hema Gupta 4 years ago

      Thanks Seema😊

  21. Miss Hope 4 years ago

    Hema, I also have a day job in electronics/manufacturing and find great joy in releasing my creativity in watercolor after hours. Your work is absolutely beautiful! I commend you for the attention to detail and encourage you to keep on painting!!!

    • Hema Gupta 3 years ago


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